Treasury through the Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has said it is ready to work with banks on the 99-year-old land leases to ensure that they are bankable, The Herald reports.
Mthuli while he was touring Beitbridge Border Post, said the government was working on fine-tuning the command agriculture so that it is implemented from a commercial point:
I am aware of the need to give farmers bankable land so that they may operate as businessmen. However, that doesn’t necessarily fall under my ministry.
First of all, if you look at the Command Agriculture initiative, you will note that we have gone through stages, all designed to bolster the process for upgrading productivity within the agriculture sector.
From last year, Government has been able to crowd in the banking sector as a lender to the agriculture sector by providing banks with guarantees under the commercial command agriculture initiative.
This is what has also happened with this year’s command winter wheat programme and the same thing will happen during the summer cropping.
We have the 99-year leases and these give some form of title to the holders of that land. But I am also aware that banks have not welcomed these as warmly like in other countries
The 99-year-old land leases and command agriculture are marred with controversy as banks refuse to extend loans to farmers on the leases for various reasons while command agriculture torched a storm in parliament last year after it emerged that 3 Billion went to command Agriculture but the country is still food insecure with over 4 million people in need of food aid according to UNWFP.
More: The Herald